Monday, June 30, 2008

June 30th gig at The Palms

Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns return to The Lounge tonight at 10:30 pm. Our original Fat City Horns are back with Bette Midler now at Caesar's during the week, so they will be onstage tonight at The Palms' gig. Our thanks again to the FCH Second Unit for stepping up so ably.

No cover, no minimum. A lot of pent-up need for The Healing is gonna get addressed, onstage and off. Be there.

2:12 a.m. July 1st POST GIG REPORT

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I knew this would be a great night. Awesome crowd, packed in. (I will be blogging incrementally, I have a lot of shots to look through). Our dear friends, the Finest Vocal Band In The Land, MOSAIC indeed came to hang, and got up to blow the house away.

Their new CD is out. We sold a bunch for them tonight. I have it on right now, loading into iTunes as I blog. These cats are so badass!

Our friend Bobby Black shot their CD pics. Unlike yours truly he's a real photographer. In addition to being one of the heavy-hitters in The Las Vegas Tenors.

Below, Bobby Black and the ever-gracious and elegant Sandra Benton of "Menopause," sitting in rapt and stunned disbelief like the rest of us. The band was off-the-scale with pure energy tonight. "When The Curtain Goes Up" and "Si Te Vas" in particular blew us all away. So did tony Davich's rendition of "You Don't Know Me" and "Soul Trilogy." I found the relaxed hump of "Come Together" also quite interesting tonight. That's a great tempo if they all lock on to it, like they did tonight.

I got to hang with the MOSAIC posse in ecstatic healing all night, lucky me. But, it was hard to not just get caught up in being a dazzled spectator for the entire show. I had to get some decent pictures. Intimidated with Bobby Black in the house.

Below, Taku Hiranu, percussionist with the Bette Midler show, throwin' it down with Gabe and Pepe.

What a rap sheet this cat has!
Taku has toured the world with Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, Stevie Nicks, Lionel Richie, Isaac Hayes, and Lindsey Buckingham. He has also performed with Stevie Wonder, LeAnn Rimes, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Mary J. Blige, Patti Labelle, Barry Manilow, Kenny Loggins, Chaka Khan, Brandy, The Neville Brothers, Wyclef Jean, Don Henley, and Sheila E. Taku has recorded with artists as diverse as Dr. Dre, Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, The Temptations, Nelly Furtado, Jay-Z, Stevie Nicks, and Lionel Richie, in addition to working on numerous major motion picture and television scores and soundtracks. Several of these recordings have won Grammy, Emmy, and American Music awards. Taku has also worked with notable jazz, jazz-fusion, and contemporary-jazz artists such as Gary Burton, Joe Zawinul, Jonathan Butler, Tom Scott, Bennie Maupin, and with gospel artists, Yolanda Adams, Bebe Winans, and Cece Winans.

Taku has studied intensively since the age of nine in Classical percussion and drumset, studying with the principal timpanist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and with some of the top-call session drummers and percussionists in Los Angeles. Since his mid-teens, he has studied the traditional secular and sacred percussion styles of Cuba, Brazil, West Africa, The Middle East, and India, going as far as studying under master percussionists from Cuba, Northern (Hindustani) and Southern (Karnatak) India, Ghana (Dagbamba and Ewe styles), and Japan, enrolling in a graduate studies program in World Music performance at California Institute of the Arts, and attending the Escuela Nacional de Artes (National School of the Arts) in Havana, Cuba. He also received his Bachelor of Music degree cum laude as one of the first hand percussion principals from Berklee College of Music, spending 4 years under the tutelage of master percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo.

Thanks to everyone who showed up tonight. It was magical.

BTW: Next Monday night we will be blessed with guest guitarist Melle Vasquez of the Cirque "Zumanity" show to open the set.


Tommy Alvarado

Cost: free

Slick Willie Orchestra playing blues and jazz till 1 am. plus there is a jam session. (NOTE, this is the former "Just Jazz" club on E. Sahara.)


July, 13 and 14th, 2008 at Harrah’s Main Showroom
3475 Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Cost: $45 + tax


Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge believer in education, particularly with respect to the arts, which invariably get short shrift during tight money times (like these). Let's get out and support this show and raise some dough.

- BobbyG


We had 3,147 page views by 1,346 discrete visitors in June. The graph below is a summary from my Google Analytics report for YTD, January 1 - June 30th 2008.

I've not drilled down in a while to look in-depth at geographical distribution, but I will soon. Here's a quick planet-wide hit map, though (click the image to enlarge).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Victor Wooten on NPR today

I was driving back from my Mom's nursing home this evening, and caught part of an NPR interview segment featuring Bad Boy bassist Victor Wooten. It was just too cool (he talks about and demonstrates how he plays various licks), so I fired up Audio Hijack when I got to the house, captured and uploaded all of it (the interview and the ensuing ancillary clips) for your convenient listening pleasure (runtime ~20 minutes total. Enjoy).

Brother Bill

Our esteemed bro' Bill Champlin recently at his day gig (btw, nice pic on your website, Bill, LOL).

Props to Mary Healy for the heads-up.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's Time in Vegas

The Time has come again

After reuniting for the Grammys, the 1980s Minneapolis hitmakers are doing Vegas and a new album.

By JON BREAM, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Last update: June 21, 2008 - 9:58 AM

Who first had the idea -- Tina Turner or the Time -- to use the 50th annual Grammy Awards to launch a comeback?

Well, the Time's reunion was batted around last fall. "There was a conference call," recalled keyboardist Monte Moir. Then bandmate Jimmy Jam mentioned the idea to the CEO of the Recording Academy, which stages the Grammys.

Before you could say "What time is it?" the seven original members reunited Feb. 10 after 18 years apart to perform with Rihanna on the Grammys. That brought a call from a Las Vegas promoter and, on Tuesday, the Time will begin a three-week engagement at the Flamingo Hotel.

While the comeback isn't as high-profile as Turner's fall arena tour after an eight-year retirement, it is heartening for fans of one of the tightest, funkiest and most fun R&B bands of the 1980s.

"We're getting along great," drummer Jellybean Johnson said last week while shopping for cymbals at the Guitar Center in Hollywood. "These guys are my brothers."

Why a reunion now?

"It's like Terry [Lewis] is telling all the interviewers: 'It's just time,'" said Johnson, who spent the past three weeks rehearsing in Los Angeles, where the other members live; only Johnson and Moir still live in the Twin Cities.

The project is being spearheaded by Lewis -- the group's bassist, Jam's partner in the Grammy-winning Flyte Tyme production team and "the consummate businessman," said Johnson. Lewis and frontman Morris Day cut the deal with the Flamingo.

The Time is actually the replacement for this 15-show engagement at a 700-seat showroom. Toni Braxton has been the longtime attraction there, but became ill.

The group is getting a " handsome" fee, Johnson said -- perhaps its biggest payday ever.

'Not a normal band'

This isn't just a dash for reunion cash. The Time is about three-fourths finished with a new album that could be available in the fall. One or two new numbers might sneak into the group's 90-minute Vegas set.

Gino Vannelli update

From an email I just got:
Greetings Gino fans!

We'd like to pass on a little inside information to you from

Between June 28th and July 7th, you can be the first to purchase tickets for Gino Vannelli's show at the Las Vegas Hilton, November 9th, 2008. Before tickets go on sale to the general public, fans will have the option to be the first to buy the best seats in the house as well as the option to purchase tickets for a private Meet and Greet with Gino after his show.

We'll see you there !!!

For more information, visit

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dark tonight

Yeah, I'm bummed also. How 'bout a little Tower to backfill?

Santa Fe returns to The Palms next Monday. The Fat City Horns return to Caesar's tomorrow night with Bette Midler. Here's their clip from Leno / The Tonight Show last Friday.

Speaking of Vegas: remember the movie "Casino" with Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci? (warning: explicit language)

LOL! Somebody has too much time on their hands.

George Carlin - RIP

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- George Carlin, the influential comedian whose routines used profanity, scatology and absurdity to point out the silliness and hypocrisy of human life, has died. He was 71.

Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, died of heart failure Sunday, according to publicist Jeff Abraham. Carlin went to St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon, complaining of chest pain, and died at 5:55 p.m. PT.

Carlin performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, and maintained a busy performing schedule, which included regular TV specials for HBO...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Some quick late midweek updates

Ronnie Foster appears again tonight at The Ice House, 8 pm - 11:30 pm, with his Funk's Way lineup. No cover no minimum. Michael Grimm is back tomorrow and Saturday at The Ovation Room in Green Valley Ranch, 7 pm. Again, no cover, no minimum. This is his gig with his horn band -- btw, the horns are now officially "The Big Easy Horns."

I did some shots in my living room for Tyriq's new funk band "Jamestown" yesterday afternoon. That's keyboardist Mike on the right.

Is Tyriq lookin' GQ fly or what? 'eh?

New jazz spot in town, Caylix Jazz Supper Club, Sahara and Decatur.

We wish them every success.

Below, website pic from our Austin TX bro's, Tortilla Factory.

Check 'em out. Buy their stuff.


I brought my Ma to the house last weekend and played my Clint Holmes DVD for her while she was there. She really dug it. This morning I found this older YouTube clip of Clint and the guys doing "Rendevous." Check out Jerry's hair. LOL! It looked cool. That's Lenny on percussion, btw.

That was one amazing show.


My Grandson Keenan, now 14 and as tall as me, is a nationally ranked USTA tennis player (and an honor student -- who just got a full ride to a private high school -- and perfect gentleman who can be routinely seen/heard with Santa Fe blaring out of his iPod earphones).

They finally put the Juggs radar gun on his serve. 121 mph. Yikes. I would never get my racket on the ball. He's gonna kickin' my nascent geriatric ass at hoops shortly too. Yep, count on it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June 16th gig at The Palms

OK, it's almost 2:30 a.m., I been hangin' with the cats in the afterglow of a magical night. Just got home and dumped 125 pics into iPhoto from my camera. Gettin' a late start, but I am gonna try to stay with it and post til I get through all these photos and my observations from the evening. Got a lot to upload and discuss. Also gotta rummage through the fridge and find some chow...

Gonna do this incrementally, so that the early blog surfers will at least have something to start with. Lemme get underway with some shots of Pepe and Gabriel.

OK, just back from the kitchen and fridge. Expediency says 'peanut butter and jelly on the leftover Smith's French bread.' Yummie (ugh). Wash it down with some OJ.

Fat City Horns II were up tonight, as Danny, Gill, Nathan, Jerry Merra, Phil, and Rob are back in rehearsals in L.A. for the re-start of Bette Midler. Eric Tewalt was again in the mix, on bari and flute. He's now sorta both Fat City Horns I and II. Lucky for us.

While I knew that Bette Midler was starting up again this weekend and the guys would have to be back in rehearsals this week, I'd not realized that they'd not be at The Palms tonight. FCH II stepped up and delivered majorly. There were a couple of early rough patches (the "Intermission" and "South American Sojourn" charts), but they settled in and found the grooves and screamed the night away, starting with the "Brother to Brother" arrangement, which they nailed. The energy level was so high tonight. Our bro' Sean G from MOSAIC came to hang tonight and sat with me. We compared amazement notes all night. It was a great Healing

BTW, Bette and the guys are doing Leno this Friday (The Tonight Show). I'll post the YouTube clip as soon as I get ahold of it. They're also gonna tape a segment of The View. I'll try to get that clip as well.


Dave Stambaugh on alto -- Yikes. Below Dave Phillipus, now also with Michael Grimm.

More to come...

Exceptional tunes tonight included "Higher Ground," "San Diego," "Soul Trilogy," "Take My Heart Away," "Wishing Well," "Earth, Wind, and Fire Medley," and "We Are Nothing" -- with which they ended the show. It was the nastiest groove I'd ever heard them do on that tune. "Wishing Well" was also off-the-hook nasty. They blew the house away tonight. It was awesome. Great crowd. Thanks to everyone for coming.

Don't forget we're dark next Monday.

Hmmm...I have a bit of cash in the kitty, maybe we could hire a licensed therapist and hold a support group meeting at my house, hmmm...

Seriously, as I learn what else will be happening around town next Monday, I'll post it. Also, check back for updates on other gigs this week.


A belated "Happy Father's Day" to all the dads out there among our blog readers. I was gonna do a Fathers' Day post, but opted to leave my Adrian Garcia tribute post up for an additional day instead. He was a Dad as well. Below, his sweet daughter Lauren. She plays bass too. I am now blessed to know her.

This is my first ever Fathers' Day in 62 years absent my own Pop. Would have liked just one more. But, I can't complain; we had a good final year after I moved him here from Florida.